Objectives

COST Action ANDRONET aims to boost research collaboration, education and public awareness in andrology, a field of science that deals with male health. Its implementation was urgent due to the increasing incidence of infertility and testicular cancer, worrying reports of an association of poor reproductive function with poor health, and male predisposition to serious diseases, including Covid-19, leading to shorter life expectancy in men.

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    Research Coordination Objectives

    To develop a framework for collecting and aggregating existing clinical data on unexplained/idiopathic male infertility (mainly azoospermia) across Europe, and to define criteria for a standardized central database..

    To promote collaboration and build a network of scientific initiatives in basic and clinical andrology research, with an ultimate (long-term) aim to uncover the molecular aetiology of diverse disorders using comprehensive and integrated high-throughput OMICS tools (genomics, epigenetics, RNA, proteomics, exposome, microbiome), as well as complementary in vitro and in vivo models..

    To initiate the integration of the multidimensional and longitudinal data derived from the previous objectives through network analysis and computational modelling, with the potential to identify key genetic determinants, novel molecular pathways, functions and biomarkers..

    To promote exploitation of the new findings to develop novel diagnostic tools and technology among collaboration with small commercial companies and pharmaceutical industry .

    To promote the initiation of prospective controlled studies, aimed at the validation of potential novel biomarkers in their utility in clinical management..

    To coordinate studies aiming to gain further insights into the relationships between testicular dysfunction and complex common adult disorders such as metabolic syndrome, cancer and other chronic diseases.

    To disseminate and exploit the outcomes of the project among the professionals through ANDRONET and collaborating andrology centres, and to professionals of 'neighboring' clinical specialties (gynecology, endocrinology, urology) as well as to the general public.

    To coordinate the preparation and publication of evidence-based clinical guidelines approved by consensus of internationally recognized experts.

    To raise public awareness in male health issues through special events (European Male Health Week) and to prepare multi-lingual educational materials and portals targeting different age groups.

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    Capacity Building Objectives

    To connect high-quality scientific communities in the fields of andrology and reproductive biology with the smaller centres from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) and neighboring countries for better integration of basic and clinical research in Europe.

    To enlarge the existing European network of andrology centres in order to promote the highest level of education in this field, with the wide inclusion of ITC countries.

    To provide networking and leadership opportunities for early career investigators (ECI) in andrology and reproductive biology through their participation in joint activities, training events, meetings and short training missions in partner laboratories.

    To recognize andrology as a multidisciplinary medical subspecialty in Europe, with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of specialized andrologists able to provide the appropriate care for andrological problems.

    To increase collaboration among national and international societies in the field of andrology.

    To reach out to the general community and to include patient organizations, in co-creation strategies to develop awareness tools.

    To establish social network platforms for the general public with focus on various issues related to male health in different age groups (raise social awareness).

    To support the positioning of Europe as a "leading partner" in international andrology-related activities, including input for possible market applications and cooperation with private enterprises.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020